Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. starting June 13, 2013
Join us for family fun Thursday evenings this summer. Nature Nights are fun explorations of plants, animals, and the ecology of Central Texas. Each evening features interactive presentations, hikes with experts in their fields, and nature crafting for kids of all ages. Nature Nights are supported through volunteer efforts by Capital Area Master Naturalists volunteers and programs.
The Cafe will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. serving their regular menu items.
Kids 12 and under receive a free gift in the Gift Store.
Please come early as the parking lot fills up quickly. If the lot is full, please park on the street. Please only park in designated parking spots.
Thursday, June 13- From Roots to Shoots
What is the difference between a root and a shoot? What is a monocot? What is a dicot? What do plants look like under a microscope? Is it possible for plants to be grown without soil? Come learn these answers at our first Nature Nights of the summer. Find out how different plant parts can be made into dye. Take a hike in the gardens and in our new Texas Arboretum with experts to learn more about our native plant life. Commander Ben will be bringing his Invasive Hunter Academy to help teach kids of all ages about the invasive plant species around Central Texas.
Austin Public Library will offer storytelling in the Little House at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Go on a scavenger hunt in our Texas Arboretum and see if you can find the tree that resembles a famous furry blue creature. Learn about plants for wildlife. Make a tree out of a brown paper lunch bag and make a flower from your hand print. Let the Capital Area Master Naturalists help you learn about flower parts and then make a Native Flower Fan. And tell us what our twisted old tree looks like to you.
Thursday, June 20- Amphibians
Frogs, Newts, Toads, Salamanders, Sirens, Waterdogs....Are these the ingredients of a witch's brew? No, this is the topic of our Nature Nights on June 20. Amphibians!
Come find out about the difference between all these amphibians. Come and listen to Texas Parks and Wildlife give a presentation on the Texas Amphibian Watch, including frog and toad calls. The Ambassador Houston Toad from the Houston Zoo will be making an appearance. Take this opportunity to learn more about this endangered toad. Test your frog and toad knowledge. Learn about the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. Find out ways to make frog and toad calls with everyday objects with the Capital Area Master Naturalists. Take a walk on the wet side and learn about our amphibian friends and their habitat. And where will the scavenger hunt be? Near the water of course. Make an origami frog and then see how far your frog will jump. Then try your craft skills making a frog hat.
Thursday, June 27- Insects
Come and listen to Mike Quinn, entomologist, talk about insects. Take a walk on the wild side and find out about what might nibble the plants of the Wildflower Center. Try out a couple of our Mr. Smarty Plants Learning Stations, Insect Evidence and Butterflies. The Austin Public Library will have story time in the Little House at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. You will have a chance to make a Butterfly and a Ladybug hat. Build a bee out of construction paper/pipe cleaners and learn about a bee's body parts and the special dance they do with the Capital Area Master Naturalists.
Thursday, July 11- Birds of Prey
One of our most popular Nature Nights. Come listen to the experts from the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. along with their raptor ambassadors as they discuss the issues concerning the future of birds of prey.
Dave Scott, co-author of Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species and program director and lead instructor at Earth Native Wilderness School, will explore feathers and raptor flight. We'll have a scavenger hunt and crafts for the kids. Capital Area Master Naturalists will have an activity called: "What's Your Wingspan?" where we measure kids' wingspans and compare their wingspans to the wingspans of various birds of prey. Carol Toole signs Tara's Spring Wish from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the store.
Thursday, July 18- Wildlife
Find out about mammals in our area with Pamela R. Owen, Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin Texas Natural Science Center at 6:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m and 8:00 p.m. What wildlife has been seen at the Wildflower Center? You might be surprised to know what is out here. Capital Area Master Naturalists will be "Making Tracks" in which the kids will use plaster of paris and molds to make take-home animal tracks. Dave Scott, lead instructor at Earth Native Wilderness School, will have a Wildlife Tracking station. In addition to this, we will have Wildlife Austin out and they will have information about creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat™. Do you know what to do if you find a hurt or orphaned wild animal? Be sure to look for the Wildlife Rescue table and see how you can help.
Thursday, July 25- Snakes
Travis LaDuc, Ph.D., assistant curator of herpetology for The University of Texas at Austin Texas Natural Science Center will keep you on the edge of your seat as he talks about snakes. Prresentations will be given at: 6:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Do you know the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes? Just how do snakes smell and hear? Come and look at live snakes and find out the answers to your questions about snakes at our last Nature Nights of 2013. Tim Cole with Austin Reptile Service will be on site with live snakes. Go on a scavenger hunt and let the kids enjoy making a fun snake craft item.